Trouble for Scapes

It's that time of the season that all us garlic lovers anticipate: scape season!  Garlic scapes are the flowering stalks of garlic plants.  For hardneck garlic, it's good to cut the scapes (once they make a full curl) for two reasons: (1) cutting the scapes will put more energy into growing a large bulb and (2) they taste delicious!
This is our fourth season growing garlic and they're supposed to be pretty maintenance free with rarely anything bothering them.  However, this year, we discovered something happening to the scapes (see picture).  After some research, we learned that we've been hit with the leek moth!  According to UVM Extension master gardener blog, we aren't the only ones in the area with this problem.

Here's what the EMG blog site had to say about this new pest:
"Overwintering even in Vermont’s cold climate, the leek moth has two generations per summer growing season. Between May and June, the moth’s larva bore into outer plant leaves and feed down the stems of allium-family crops, leaving behind noticeable frass and sickly plants. After pupating in web cocoons on outer leaves, they emerge as moths and lay eggs nocturnally that become another round of destructive larva from July through August. While the first generation usually stunts plants through boring damage, the second set of larva tend to do the most destruction to the stem and bulbs of the plant, affecting harvest and storage life.

For some, it’s still early and there’s time to take preventative action. For others it may be time to throw in the towel on our allium crops and plan better for next year. Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences provides detailed, preventative IPM methods and further information on identifying the leek moth."

Here's a picture of the larva:
 We are going to start keeping an eye on our onions and keep our fingers crossed. 

In other news, the garden is looking absolutely fantastic!  We've already had one harvest of spinach and tomorrow we'll have another harvest of spinach, gourmet lettuce and radishes.  Our canteloupe and watermellons have blossoms on them and our tomatoes are big enough that the garden crew has started to work on constructing a trellis for them.


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